Michigan Governor Signs Executive Order To Overhaul Medical Cannabis Licensing

Michigan Governor Signs Executive Order To Overhaul Medical Cannabis Licensing

The Michigan medical cannabis market should be further along than it is, according to the state’s Governor. Dissatisfied with the progress made in licensing medical cannabis businesses in the state, Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed an executive order to disassemble the board responsible for the decision making process.

“This executive order will eliminate inefficiencies that have made it difficult to meet the needs of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients,” Whitmer said.

The board, made up of volunteers, was not able to approve or deny medical marijuana business license applications within a reasonable time frame, so Gov. Whitmer took it upon herself to make a change. Gov. Whitmer’s executive order is supported by leaders in the state Legislature as well as former director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, Shelly Edgerton.

“The volunteer board took on a monumental lift to get this program going, but in the short time frame the program has been running, we have not seen the expected volume of licensees entering the market,” Edgerton said. “With this executive order, the licensing process will be more efficient and allow more applicants into the space.”

The volunteer board was only able to approve 121 medical cannabis businesses since they began considering applications in July. Of the 121, only 105 businesses have paid their fees to be able to operate legally.

Only the following number of medical marijuana businesses have been fully approved to operate in Michigan:

  • 31 Cultivators
  • 54 Dispensaries
  • 11 Processors
  • 4 Testing labs
  • 5 Transporters

The Marijuana Regulatory Agency

To replace the board of volunteers, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency was created. A new branch within the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency will be responsible for awarding licenses to medical cannabis businesses as of April 30. Once the regulations are established for the recreational market, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency will license recreational businesses as well.

“All elements of this Agency have been designed to serve and better protect Michigan residents, and I’m eager to have a unified effort across state departments to make sure this process runs effectively and efficiently,” said Whitmer.

Michigan voters approved a ballot measure legalizing cannabis for recreational purposes in November 2018. Recreational sales are not expected to begin until 2020 because the state needs to establish a framework for licensing and regulations first.

Get a Free Weed “Gift” in Michigan

Get a Free Weed “Gift” in Michigan

Now that the recreational use and possession of cannabis is legal in Michigan, creative cannaprepreneurs are finding ways to fill the gap in the market. Residents in some areas can now order a t-shirt or a muffin and juice to receive a free “gift of weed” with their purchase.

On December 6, 2018, the adult use of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal in The Wolverine State. Any person 21 years of age or older is now able to use and possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis. Much like the situation in other states immediately following the implementation of a legalization amendment, the recreational retail shops have not opened doors yet because no licenses have been issued. The medical marijuana shops that are already operating are only permitted to sell to patients with a valid, state-issued registration card.

Where can recreational users find cannabis?

At this time, the only clear way under the new law for recreational users to obtain marijuana is by growing it themselves. Adults are permitted to cultivate up to 12 plants at home, but nothing growing just since legalization would be mature or ready to use yet.

Without recreational dispensaries for consumers to purchase products, at least a couple of people are operating businesses within the legal grey-area of the law. Like in other legal states, one adult is permitted to give another of-age-adult up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana as a gift in Michigan. This means that in order for it to be legal, there cannot be an exchange of money for marijuana. The law does not specifically state that a person cannot sell something else, like a t-shirt or snacks, and include a free gift of marijuana.

How do I order my free marijuana gift?

One of the businesses doing this in Detroit, On High Road, is offering a free gift of marijuana flower with the purchase of a muffin and juice for $55. If you spend $75 on cookies and milk, you get a one gram vape cartridge for free, as a gift. Another company, CannaMich, will sell customers a t-shirt for between $80-$340. The free marijuana gift you receive will depend on whether you order a “flower shirt,” a “concentrate shirt,” or a “cartridge shirt”.

For customers, the process is simple. You place your order online, and arrange either a delivery or pickup depending on the company from which you order. Both of these companies require proof of age.

Here’s When Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization Law Goes Into Effect

Here’s When Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization Law Goes Into Effect

Michigan’s new adult-use marijuana legalization law that was approved by voters earlier this month will officially take effect on December 6, according to state officials.

Adults 21 and older in Michigan, which on Election Day became the first state in the Midwest to fully legalize cannabis, will be allowed to cultivate, possess and consume marijuana on that date—exactly 10 calendar days after the Board of State Canvassers meets to certify election results, MLive.com reported.

But it’s still going to be a while until the state’s commercial cannabis system is up and operational. Regulators have one year to figure out the rules surrounding retail sales, and are supposed to start accepting license applications for prospective marijuana businesses starting in December 2019.

Michigan voters approved the legalization measure, Proposal 1, 56-44 percent.

Under the law, adults will be permitted to possess, purchase, grow and consume cannabis. Each adult will be allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants for personal use, and they can possess up to 10 ounces at their residence.

The ballot measure lays out a 10 percent excise tax imposed on retail sales. Tax revenue from those sales will be distributed to local governments, K-12 education and infrastructure projects.

Officials with the secretary of state’s office and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs told local media outlets on Friday that the Board of Canvassers will meet to certify the election results on November 26. Ten days after that—December 6—is when the new marijuana law takes effect.

Michigan might’ve been the only state in the region to fully legalize during the midterms, but another Midwestern state, Missouri, passed a medical cannabis initiative and Democratic gubernatorial candidates who support broad marijuana reforms won four key races in the region.

“The Midwest, which is the heartland of America—if legalization starts to take root there, it’s only a matter of time that federal law changes and that the rest of the country follows,” Jolene Forman, a staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance, told Marijuana Moment in an earlier interview.

https://massroots.wpengine.com/news/midwest-may-next-frontier-marijuana-legalization/

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Here’s When Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization Law Goes Into Effect

Federal Prosecutors React To Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization

Federal Prosecutors React To Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization

Michigan’s two top federal prosecutors have released a statement reacting to approval by the state’s voters of a marijuana legalization ballot measure this week.

Fairly measured in tone, the statement is similar to those of U.S. attorneys in other states with legal cannabis policies in that it says they cannot guarantee that people violating federal marijuana laws will be shielded from prosecution but that they have never focused on prosecution of consumers and will target their resources toward the most serious crimes.

The full statement from Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Michigan Andrew B. Birge and  United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Matthew Schneider follows:

The people of Michigan have voted to legalize – with certain restrictions – the possession, use, and distribution of marijuana under state law. However, marijuana continues to be an illegal drug under federal law. As the chief federal law enforcement officers in Michigan, we are providing this statement regarding the enforcement of federal marijuana laws in light of the passage of Proposal One.

Because we have taken oaths to protect and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States, we will not unilaterally immunize anyone from prosecution for violating federal laws simply because of the passage of Proposal One.

We will continue to approach the investigation and prosecution of marijuana crimes as we do with any other crime. We will consider the federal law enforcement priorities set by the United States Department of Justice, the seriousness of the crime, the deterrent effect of prosecution, and the cumulative impact of the crime on a community. As we weigh the interests in enforcing a law, we must also consider our ability to prosecute with our limited resources.

Combating illegal drugs is just one of our many priorities. We are also focused on preventing and prosecuting terrorism, violent crime, gangs, corruption, and fraud. Even within the area of drugs, we are increasingly focused on combating the opioid epidemic, which is killing our citizens at an alarming rate.

Our offices have never focused on the prosecution of marijuana users or low-level offenders, unless aggravating factors are present. That will not change. Nevertheless, crimes involving marijuana can pose serious risks and harm to a community. The seriousness of the offense and impact on a community includes a broad range of related activity and concerns for federal law enforcement. These concerns include, for example: adverse effects of interstate trafficking of marijuana; the involvement of other illegal drugs or illegal activity; persons with criminal records; the presence of firearms or violence; criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels; the bypassing of local laws and regulations; the potential for environmental contamination; and the risks to minors. We, of course, also have an interest in preventing the cultivation, use and distribution of marijuana on federal property.

These are just examples, and this statement does not limit our discretion to enforce the law. We will continue to work closely with our federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement partners to assess the federal law enforcement interest for every case as it comes in. When we act, we will act in the interests of public health and safety.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Federal Prosecutors React To Michigan’s Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana Got More Votes Than These Politicians In The Midterms

Marijuana Got More Votes Than These Politicians In The Midterms

Marijuana initiatives passed in three out of the four states where they were put before voters on Tuesday. A new Marijuana Moment analysis shows that in many cases these cannabis proposals did better than other ballot measures or candidates for major office who appeared on the same ballot.

Michigan

In Michigan, 55.9 percent of voters approved the state’s measure to legalize marijuana. That amounts to 2,339,672 votes.

Marijuana legalization got more votes than the winning candidate for governor, Gretchen Whitmer (D), who received 53.34 percent of the vote (2,256,700 votes). The measure also got more votes than incumbent U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D), who got 2,195,601 votes, or 52.2 percent. Obviously, legal marijuana also garnered more support than the Republican candidates who lost to Whitmer and Stabenow.

More people approved of cannabis than they did the winning attorney general candidate, Dana Nessel (D), who will need to carry out cannabis regulations—and potentially defend them from any federal interference. Losing AG candidate Tom Leonard (R), who opposed the initiative but said he would uphold it if elected, got 435,000 fewer votes than legal cannabis did.

Voter turnout in the state was up significantly from 2014. In the last two mid-term elections, about 3.2 million votes were cast. 4.3 million votes were reported in this year’s election. That’s about 55.4 percent of the voting age population, or 14 points higher than in 2014, and close to general election levels, which were 4.8 million votes in 2016.

The total votes on Proposal 1 (yes and no voters) were higher than the totals for either Proposal 2 (anti-gerrymandering) or Proposal 3 (electoral reforms) on the same ballot, though those proposals had more definitive “yes” votes, which implies that Michiganders overall had stronger opinions on marijuana than those other issues.

Top Five Counties for the Initiative:

County Yes No Percent Yes
Washtenaw 116,152 55,347 67.73%
Ingham 76,683 41,783 64.73%
Wayne 396,354 251,549 61.17%
Kalamazoo 69,066 45,732 60.16%
Genesee 98,617 68,828 58.90%
Oakland 350,780 244,976 58.88%

Missouri

In Missouri, where there were three competing medical marijuana initiatives on the ballot, only one passed, coming out far ahead of the other two proposals, which were largely opposed by activists in the cannabis reform movement.

The winning measure, Amendment 2 was approved by 66 percent of voters, or 1,572,592 votes.

The initiative got 824,615 more votes than competing cannabis measure Amendment 3 and 541,221 more than Proposition C, another medical marijuana proposal.

When compared to other issues on the ballot, the successful marijuana question got 113,016 more votes than Amendment 1 (redistricting and campaign finance reform), 84,224 more than Proposition B (minimum wage hike) and 470,762 more than Proposition D (a gas tax hike).

Amendment 2 also got 326,860 more votes than Josh Hawley, the Republican winner of the U.S. Senate race who defeated incumbent Claire McCaskill (D) by winning 51.4 percent of the vote.

Missouri had 57.9 percent turnout, blowing the 2014 midterm turnout of 35 percent out of the water.

Missouri counties where Amendment 2 did extra-well:

County Yes No Percent Yes
St. Louis City 93,406 19,337 82.85%
Kansas City 89,721 20,558 81.36%
Boone 53,783 20,220 72.68%
Platte 31,799 12,392 71.96%
Clay 68,946 27,448 71.53%
Jackson 104,724 44,270 70.29%
St. Louis 309,789 131,991 70.12%

North Dakota

A total of 329,086 people turned out to vote in North Dakota. While the measure to fully legalize cannabis lost, it garnered 131,585 votes, or 40.5 percent of the vote, and did better than losing candidates in several races.

Marijuana got more votes than congressional contender Mac Schneider (D), who got 113,891 votes, or 35.6 percent, secretary of state candidate Josh Boschee (D) who got 119,983 votes (39.2 percent) or attorney general candidate David Clark Thompson (D), who got 102,407 (32.2 percent).

In short, it seems that the state’s voters favor legal marijuana more than they favor Democrats.

There were four counties where the measure did get a majority of votes. In Sioux county, 71 percent of voters (994) selected yes. In Rolette, 2,891 voted yes (58 percent) and in Benson, 1,153 supported the measure (51.3 percent). In Cass County, where Fargo is located, the measure passed by 50.8 percent. And in Grand Forks County, the measure outdid the state-wide percentage rate, with 46.7 percent of voters (12,976) approving the initiative.

Utah

In Utah, where there are still a relatively substantial number of ballots yet to be counted, Proposition 2 to legalize and regulate medical marijuana has so far received 407,943 votes, or 53 percent. That is just barely more votes than Proposition 3 for Medicaid expansion, which received 407,596 votes. Proposition 4 regarding independent redistricting received 371,614 votes, or 36,329 fewer than Prop 2.

It received substantially more support than losing Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Jenny Wilson, who got 241,951 votes, but came roughly 70,000 votes shy of winner Mitt Romney (R).

In a county-by-county breakdown, the number of people voting for Proposition 2 was greater than the number voting for the House of Representatives winner in several counties, though there is not yet data available showing how individual congressional districts voted on the medical cannabis measure.

Preliminary voter turnout in Utah was estimated at around 54.7 percent at 5 PM on election day, far surpassing the last mid-term turnout of 46.3 percent of registered voters.

Counties where the proposition performed exceptionally well:

County Yes No Percent Yes
Summit 12785 4060 75.90%
Grand 3113 1043 74.90%
Salt Lake 191384 102783 65.06%
Carbon 3988 2591 60.62%
Weber 34186 24567 58.19%

In all four states, more people voted for the marijuana initiatives than supported Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 (h/t Weedmaps). And Michigan’s marijuana legalization ballot measure got more votes than President Trump did in the state that year.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Marijuana Got More Votes Than These Politicians In The Midterms

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